View Full Version : Tips on Position for Rider Who is Big on Visualization/Mental Practice

Dec. 2, 2009, 11:02 PM
So I started as a Hunter rider. Did that for many years. Then switched to dressage for a bit and while I still don't consider myself fully a "dressage rider" (i.e. not yet at the point of having that classical dressage position), I feel like I'm stuck somewhere in between. But I'd like to be able to do both well.

I'm hoping to get some tips on what you all think about when trying to work on your Hunter/Jumper position? Mostly for cantering and jumping work. For example, what parts do you try to tense/use more, what parts do you try to soften/relax, what goes through your head that helps you get your position right? What exercises do you go through and what are you thinking while doing them to strengthen, balance, etc.?

Dec. 2, 2009, 11:20 PM
I use mental practice A LOT to prepare for shows, specifically dressage tests (or what passes for dressage for me and by big lunkhead of an eventer at the horse trials). You know how they say "perfect practice makes perfect"....the only "perfect" practice I have ever been able to achieve is through mental rehearsal. And my horse also doesn't get so many repetitions that he anticipates on the tests.

I don't use it a lot for position specifically, for that I use more visualization and muscle memory I suppose.

I am a huge fan of Jane Savoie, both her writings and her CD/DVD programs. One I might recommend to you is "Program Your Position".

Dec. 2, 2009, 11:28 PM
I love the "perfect practice makes perfect" saying, because it is so true, and agree that I get the best "perfect practice" in my own mind and do find it helps in the real application.

Just did a search on Jane Savoie and found a bunch of interesting YouTube videos. I'll definitely go through them but does anyone have advice related more specifically to Hunter/Jumper position (only because this is where I'm finding difficulty after some time in Dressage)?

Dec. 3, 2009, 12:09 AM
It's about knowing your problems and what you need to do to correct them. For me, I tend to slouch pretty bad so when I'm conciously working on my equitation, I have to remind myself to sit tall and lengthen my torso and sink into my heels. Do it the same as you would in Dressage, but internalize the different position. For example, I'll hold a two-point for a few minutes to "memorize" where my leg should be.

Dec. 3, 2009, 12:57 AM
I'm totally an in my own head type rider, analyzing all the little pieces so much I sometimes miss the big picture. So for me, I actually have to think about letting go a little of focusing on the all my issues (which are aplenty). But two of my biggest things are looking ahead and not leaning too far forward. But beforewarming up and before jumping I do have a mini checklist I'll run through in my head like "heels down, leg at the girth, sit up straight, look ahead". And out of the saddle I definitely watch a lot of videos and visualize how I should be riding!